Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson has hit out a proposed global Super League that would see European sides leave their domestic competitions.
There are currently plans in place to expand the current Club World Cup to a 24-team competition to take place every four years starting in 2021.
However, according to the New York Times, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has been in talks with FIFA over the potential of a global competition of two, 20 team leagues, to rival the Club World Cup.
While the talks are not believed to be concrete, Alex Ferguson has criticised the idea and any English sides involvement.
“I’ve read the report suggesting a World Super League for the elite clubs in Europe which would provide greater finances for the clubs,” Ferguson said.
“Without question it is money-orientated, but surely this would not be attractive to our clubs in the Premier League, which at the moment is the best domestic league in world football and is well-supported financially by Sky, BT and now Amazon.”
Ferguson, who won the Champions League on two separate occasions, believes Europe’s premiere competition should remain the pinnacle of club football.
“I struggle to see why an English team would need to leave. Furthermore, the attraction of playing in the Champions League is huge for players, coaches and fans alike, as it remains the ultimate test in club football,” he said.
“A lot of clubs with great history could be lost if their partners in Premier League upped sticks.
“I strongly believe this is a realistic appraisal of the value of domestic football.”
Liverpool scraped to a 2-0 win over a stubborn bottom-placed Watford courtesy of two Mohamed Salah strikes.
At Anfield, Liverpool kept their first clean sheet at home this season but only thanks to Watford’s wastefulness in front of goal as the Hornets showed why they are the lowest scoring side in the league.
Salah’s first was a fine turn and a finish into the back post with his weaker foot in the 38th minute, but Watford should have equalised in the first half as Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr both missed golden opportunities.
Sarr and Gerard Delofeu both drew exceptional saves from Liverpool keeper Alisson in the second, before Salah neatly flicked a late sealer following a Divock Origi scuffed shot.
Five minutes into the second half, Sadio Mane was ruled off-side by the tightest of margins after VAR brought out the rulers.
Nigel Pearson failed to pick up any points in his first match in charge of Watford, but can be optimistic after what was a very reasonable showing against the ladder-leaders.
Jurgen Klopp said “I think I’ve said it 500 times, December, January especially, you need to show a resilience, that’s the most important thing. We showed that, but so did Watford. You can make early judgments, but we can’t. We just have to recover and go onto the next game.”
Liverpool’s win was soured by an apparent hamstring injury to Gini Wijnaldum, but Salah’s goals extended Liverpool’s club-record unbeaten league run to 34 games and made it 16 straight wins at Anfield.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea fell to a fourth defeat in their last five Premier League matches, this time a 1-0 loss at home to Bournemouth.
The Blues had the upper hand much of the match but failed to create many clear-cut chances, before Dan Gosling lobbed Kepa Arrizabalaga in the 85th minute to win the game in incredible style.
Gosling appeared to be marginally off-side, but VAR reviewed the goal and awarded the goal.
Chelsea looked toothless in attack throughout the game, but striker Tammy Abraham was too isolated too often, with teammates unable to provide the service to capitalise on his sharpness in front of goal.
The Bournemouth victory ended a streak of five straight defeats and offered respite to embattled manager Eddie Howe.
They now sit four points outside the bottom three.
Leicester’s eight-game winning streak in the Premier League ended Saturday with a 1-1 draw against Norwich, widening the gap to leader Liverpool to 10 points.
Jamie Vardy’s streak of scoring in eight straight league games also ended after his header from a corner was ruled an own goal by Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul, who directed the ball into the net with his hand.
That goal equalised for Leicester in the 38th minute after Norwich striker Teemu Pukki had given the visitors a surprising lead in the 26th.
Pukki ran onto a defence-splitting through ball and calmly slotted a low finish past Kasper Schmeichel for his ninth league goal of the season.
Vardy had a chance to score early in the second half when he rounded Krul, but rolled the ball onto the outside of the post from a tight angle. Leicester has surprisingly emerged as Liverpool’s closest title challenger after a run of eight straight wins since a loss at Anfield in October. But this draw means the hopes of catching Jurgen Klopp’s team look slim at best, after Liverpool beat Watford 2-0 earlier Saturday.
Norwich remained in 19th place but is now three points from safety.
Sheffield charge on again
John Fleck scored twice as Sheffield United climbed provisionally into fifth place in the Premier League by beating fellow promoted side Aston Villa 2-0 on Saturday.
After an uneventful first half, Fleck put the hosts ahead in the 50th minute by steering home an assist by John Lundstram. Fleck added the second by finishing off a move he started himself in the 73rd, getting on the end of a flick by David McGoldrick and drilling the ball confidently past Tom Heaton. Villa had a chance to get back in the game after VAR awarded a penalty for handball by John Egan, but Jack Grealish belted the resulting spot kick against the crossbar.
Sheffield leapfrogged Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham into fifth place in the standings, although all three of those teams have a chance to overtake Chris Wilder’s side on Sunday.
Relegation-threatened Aston Villa has 15 points from 17 games.
Burnley pip Toon
Chris Wood scored his seventh goal of the season as Burnley ended a run of three successive losses with a 1-0 win against an injury- hit Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday.
Wood’s 58th-minute header was enough to separate the midtable teams in what was overall a poor contest at Turf Moor, giving Sean Dyche’s side its fifth league win at home this season, all without conceding.
On a bitter Lancashire afternoon, the first half was mostly played at a relatively pedestrian pace.
Without the pace of Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce handed Andy Carroll only his second start since a free move from West Ham in the summer, as well as the captain’s armband for the first time. A contentious VAR call came in the 13th minute when Wood’s flick to a low ball in from Dwight McNeil caught the hand of Paul Dummett, who had slid in to challenge the striker, yet only a corner was given, much to the anger of the home fans.
The deadlock was broken 13 minutes into the second half when Wood headed home an inswinging corner from Ashley Westwood at the far post, awarded after Federico Fernandez had rolled the ball over the bye-line despite Bruce’s complaints to the contrary.
A minute later Carroll’s captaincy debut was marred with a booking for an elbow in the face of Burnley captain Ben Mee.
West Ham eased the pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini with a 1-0 win at Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, thanks to Sebastian Haller’s first-half goal.
Haller put West Ham ahead in the 37th minute by slotting a low shot in off the post for his fifth goal of the season, which was enough to give the Hammers only their second win in 11 league games.
West Ham came close to doubling its lead at the start of the second half when Pablo Fornals’ thunderous shot was tipped over by goalkeeper Alex McCarthy. The visitors thought they had made it 2-0 soon after when the impressive Michail Antonio powered his way through the heart of the home defence before drilling an unstoppable shot past McCarthy.
However, the incident was reviewed by VAR and the goal was disallowed for handball against Antonio.
Danny Ings nearly equalised with 20 minutes left but his volley hit the crossbar, and Shane Long fired wide from the rebound. Ings then had a goal ruled out for a foul in the build-up as the last 15 minutes featured a number of chances at both ends.
The loss leaves Southampton mired in the relegation zone, behind 17th-place Aston Villa on goal difference.